Bharti Airtel regains active mobile users crown from Jio in June: Trai

Airtel’s active mobile user base has risen to 311 million (307 million) in June, while Jio and Vi’s have shrunk to 310 million (313 million) and 273 million (277 million) respectively over the previous month.

KOLKATA: Bharti Airtel added as many as 3.7 million active mobile users in June, wresting the top spot on this score from Reliance Jio Infocomm, which lost 2.1 million active subscribers.

Struggling telco, Vodafone Idea (Vi) though suffered the most on this score, losing 3.7 million active customers, Motilal Oswal said, analysing June subscriber data put out by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).

Airtel’s active mobile user base has risen to 311 million (307 million) in June, while Jio and Vi’s have shrunk to 310 million (313 million) and 273 million (277 million) respectively over the previous month.


“Bharti Airtel regained the top spot in the active mobile subscriber market in June after losing it to Jio in May,” the brokerage said in a note.

The Visitor Location Register or `VLR,’ is a key metric reflecting the actual number of subscribers actively using a mobile network. Latest Trai data showed that 98.14% of Airtel’s users were active, while the numbers were much lower at 89.49% for Vi and 78.15% for Jio.

Vi and Jio’s combined active mobile user losses, in fact, dragged down India’s active mobile subscriber base to 958 million in June, eroding the gains on this metric in May 2020.
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“The industry witnessed 2.8 million active subscriber churn in June to reach 958 million after gaining 2.9 million active subscribers in May,” Motilal Oswal said. It though added that Vi and Jio’s declines in June were partly offset by Airtel’s strong active user additions.

Analysts said Vi’s continuous loss of subscribers is primarily due to its weak network capabilities and speculation around its business continuity, given its massive outstanding adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues.

Overall, Jio added almost 4.5 million mobile users in June, taking its count past 397 million, driven by the gradual easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and consumers taking last December’s price increases in their stride. Jio also has become the largest telco in rural India, ending Vi’s dominance in the segment. Jio’s rural mobile user base grew to 166.34 million in June, edging ahead of Vi’s 166.02 million for the first time, according to Trai data.

Airtel and Vi’s gross subscriber base fell by 1.12 million and 4.82 million respectively in June, dragging the country’s overall mobile user base lower by 3.2 million to 1.14 billion.
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Sectoral mobile broadband (MBB) user adds though were a healthy 14 million in June, reaching 678 million after witnessing a steep decline of 11.2 million in April, followed by a recovery of 7.3 million in May. Such MBB users now account for 70.8% of total active users in the market, having risen continuously from 59% in June 2019.
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